Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kübler-Ross model and environmental change

I have been peripherally interested in this model but never followed up on it.  While the article and the origional research uses this model to explain how people deal with death and dying... I have been thinking about it in terms of "catastrophic change"  or "shocking change" in peoples lives.

I think this is just an extension of the idea.

But what about "catastrophic change" that is not sudden?  Consider situations like environmental change.  Drought is a recurrent event in Australia.  We have just come out of a decade of drought that effected huge regions very significantly.  The rate of suicide and depression and "coping mechanisms" has been reported on over the years.

My question would be... how do people deal with catastrophy when there is no "end".  Its just a slow roast.  Do they still go through a grieving process?  If you see your farm, herd, business, family ground down and finally destroyed... where do you start grieving?

While its fine to talk about the resiliance of people on the land and how hard this process makes them... it breaks more than it makes.

I guess terminal illness is similar to any enterprise (particularly dry land farming) in that you know its risky and at some point it all may fall part and end.  But is that the same as being caught in a drought and seeing everything die while you sit watching impotently?

Knowing that there is nothing you can do except walk off the farm and start again somewhere else... give everything to the bank, suck up your pride, collect the kids and dogs and start again....

On that note.... I wonder what the stages of grief are when its an even slower grind down... being in a relationship that is slowly failing.... hoping it might turn around... but not having any evidence to support that hope.... is that the denial phase?  What about being in a job with no future?  Knowing that there is no where to go except to quit and start again somewhere else.... walk away... abandon everything that you have invested in.... denial, anger, bargining, depression or acceptance? 

What about frustration, rage and self abuse?  Acting out, lying to yourself, putting on a brave face, desperation, thrashing, spinning your wheels.... has to be a few other stages. 

Must be time for yet another mid-life crisis.... but what do you do when you can't abaondon the problem and you are obliged to take it with you?  What do you do when you have to pick up the toxic element and try again, knowing that that one key seed remains and will bloom into another tree of failure.... simply because it cannot be dumped?  Do you give up?  Do you just sit and cry? Is this the human condition?  Are character flaws the things that hold us down or define us? Are they the things that we need to raise above  or is it simply a flaw in a particular circumstance?  Will it suddenly bloom into something useful and valuable in the right situation?  Maybe.... are we all just gamblers at heart?

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